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The old silk factory using Da Vinci's 500-year-old machine design

The old silk factory using Da Vinci's 500-year-old machine design
Copyright  Antico Setificio Fiorentino
By Doloresz Katanich  with AFP

You can easily imagine Pope Francis and opera singers Maria Callas and Andrea Bocelli wearing exquisite garments made of silk, some of which were created on the centuries-old looms of a little workshop, tucked away in the historic San Frediano neighbourhood of Florence.

The silk factory L'Antico Setificio Fiorentino was founded in the 18th Century. This is one of the last remaining silk workshops today and probably the only one to still use the machines of days gone by, one of them designed by Renaissance genius Leonardo Da Vinci.

"It's a museum that is also a factory," said Briza Datti, interior designer and head of the commercial sector.

Golden chenille, damask and taffeta with floral or geometric motifs are among the fabrics made here and sold for between € 200 and € 1,500 per metre.

The workshop, which since 2010 has belonged to the family of Italian fashion designer Stefano Ricci, manufactures fabrics, lace and ribbons in styles and colours favoured by the historic House of Medici, an Italian banking family and political dynasty.

Click on the video above and take a look at the historical workshop.